You are about to read a preacher’s story. Be advised it may be fictional (!!). Three turtles in the forest decided to have a cup of coffee. Rain started to fall, so the biggest turtle said to the smallest turtle, “Go home and get an umbrella.” The little one replied, “I will if you won’t drink my coffee.” The other two turtles echoed together, “We won’t.” Two years went by and the little turtle did not return. The big turtle said to the middle-sized turtle, “I guess he isn’t coming back, so we might as well drink his coffee.” At that, a little voice called from behind a nearby bush,“If you do, I won’t go.” Talk about slowwwww to go! What was he waiting on?!!

A goofy story, but I want to use it to make a very serious, sobering point. That turtle was waiting when he should have been going. After all, A slow go is better than a no go. In 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 the apostle Paul makes a most interesting point about waiting. He is pouring out praise for the way these Christians had responded to the Gospel. The passage reads, “so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” If read carefully, Paul’s words stand our common notion of what it means to “wait” on its head. Dictionary definitions of the English word “wait” read like this — “stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.” It’s definitely okay to wait in some situations. Like when you ring a doorbell. Or sitting at a 4-way stop when another vehicle got there first. But there are times when waiting is not only not good but very bad. Like if you discover your house is on fire. Or for that matter if you discover your neighbor’s house on fire. Now re-read the description of the church at Thessalonica cited above. Paul describes them in verse 10 as “waiting” for Jesus to return — but his earlier words in verse 8 make clear they did anything but stay where they were or delay action until something else happened! Instead we read, “For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth …. in every place …. Your faith toward God has gone out.” This church was on the go with the Gospel even as they waited on Jesus to return! They were not “silent saints.” Far from it. Why were they so bent on “sounding forth” the word? Why did they want their faith toward God to “go out?” They no doubt knew, as we should know, Jesus commands the church to go with the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20 * Mark 16:15-16). But the naked and uncomfortable truth is too many of us in the Lord’s church are too mum about Jesus. Instead of a “go, stand and speak” approach,(Acts 5:20), we are frozen in place, standing still and delaying to go, under the grip of a “come, sit and listen” approach. Here’s a vital, sobering question — are we “sounding forth” the word while we wait on Jesus? Or are we been too slow when we know the Lord says go? Just asking.